The New York Knicks find themselves at a crossroads this off-season, with challenging decisions to make about their roster. The key question is identifying a third star to accompany Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson, and what it would take to secure such a player.
The Knicks have been linked to several top talents, such as Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers, Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls, and even Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Star trades are not uncommon in the NBA, so the Knicks stand a fair chance of acquiring another top talent, should they choose to capitalize on their current championship window. However, this would likely require sacrificing significant talent, particularly RJ Barrett and Obi Toppin.
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Evaluating Obi Toppin’s Performance
Obi Toppin is on the brink of his fourth season and, at 25, experienced a rather underwhelming 2022-23 season. He averaged 7.4 points, with a .446 field goal percentage and a .344 three-point percentage. Additionally, he posted a .548 effective field-goal percentage with an average of 2.8 rebounds per game.
Toppin’s preference for a heavy transition offense clashes with the Knicks’ style, which prioritizes spacing and quality shooting. As such, the Knicks may explore moving Toppin to open a roster spot for a player who fits their desired profile better.
Potential Trade Destinations for Toppin
Clippers: A New Athletic Addition?
The Los Angeles Clippers are reportedly seeking to increase their frontcourt’s athleticism this off-season, making Toppin a prime candidate. Should they decide to trade Paul George, a potential deal could include Toppin. However, they would likely also be interested in acquiring RJ Barrett, given his significant potential at just 22.
Toppin is about to enter the last year of his rookie deal, with a $6.8 million paycheck. The team also has a qualifying offer on the table, which, though not guaranteed, represents a one-year deal if accepted.
Pacers: A Renewed Dialogue?
The Knicks held discussions with the Indiana Pacers at the last trade deadline. If the two sides choose to reopen these talks, Toppin could be a viable trade option. However, the Knicks might seek a trade with a shooter in return.
A potential target could be Chris Duarte, whom the Knicks had their eye on in the draft two years ago. Despite a lukewarm season average of 7.9 points and a .369 field goal percentage, the 26-year-old shows promise. A change of scenery could be the spark Duarte needs to realize his full potential.
As the Knicks’ off-season strategy unfolds, the possible destinations for Obi Toppin will become clearer, shaping the franchise’s future landscape.